Nutrition and Information Guide: Protein

About protein, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency, overdoses, good sources of protein.


Use in the Body: Even a cursory list of what protein does would be too long for our purposes. In short, it regulates the myriad reactions involved in metabolism, thus keeping our bodies running, and it acts as the fuel that supplies energy. Protein builds, maintains, and repairs the body.

Deficiency May Lead to: Impairment of non-essential organs and weakening of skin, hair, and nails. Prolonged deficiency leads to atrophy and death.

Overdose May Lead to: Fluid imbalance and overworking of the entire system.

Notes: Protein is the most abundant substance in our bodies; we are 18% to 20% protein by weight. Our muscles, skin, bone, and cartilage are made up of 63% of the body's protein. Hair, nails, eyes, teeth, blood, the heart, lungs, kidneys, and nerves are all protein. This amazing substance is composed of amino acids, of which there are 22 in the body. Eight of these are considered essential, in that they are not supplied within the body and must be obtained from outside sources like plants and animals. Therefore, we need a continuous source of protein. Not only must we get all the proper proteins but we must get them simultaneously and in the right proportions. Only "complete" protein supplies these essential 8 amino acids in the desired amount and proportion.

Best Sources: Eggs and milk are the highest. Soybeans and other legumes, nuts, grains, and cereals (especially wheat germ), fish, meat (not the best of sources), and cheese, vegetables, and dried fruit.

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